In their usual very entertaining way, Chris and Jordan from DPRTV share their best and worst camera gear episode for 2021.
Instead of the best stills and hybrid camera categories (as they did last year), this year they axed the hybrid category and replaced it with the best video camera, which has been won by the DJI Ronin 4D. I wish they would have kept the hybrid category.
Also, there is not one overall best lens, but best lens for M4/3, APS-C and Full Frame. Medium Format is not contemplated in the lens options, so the stellar Fujinon GF80mm f/1.7 (which I use every now and then with very gratifying results) had no chance to participate to this years’ DPRTV selection.
Fujifilm GFX100S: they love image and build quality. Really premium medium format sensor with more approachable price point. Makes high end medium format accessible to a lot more people. You can’t find the camera anywhere, as everybody wants one.
Look, I own the Fujifilm GFX100S and I admire it. It stunns me over and over again. And if you want the best image quality, more then you could ever desire, then go for it. But as much as I admire it, I can’t fall in love with it as I do with my Fujifilm X gear, since it lacks of manual controls. To be clear, it is fast and stupidly easy to operate. But just not as fun. So Fuji, take the X-T form and function, and make a GFX out of it, pretty much like this prototype you’ve showen to us in the past.
And yet, it has captured some precious family memories at a quality I do not deserve :).
And the misconception is that Fujifilm film simulations are something good only for pure JPEG shooters. But that’s far from true.
When I photographed the wedding of my friend I did shoot everything in RAW (I explained which gear I used here), but when it was time to edit everything in Capture One 21, I did not waste any time with color grading the images. I just scrolled over the various film simulation options in Capture One, saw in real time which color gives me the best mood, clicked on that film simulation and that’s it. Done that, I started to edit the images to taste (except for the colors).
I’ve explained in this article which film simulations I’ve used most in my wedding editing (curiously a film simulation that I’ve rarely used until I’ve shot the wedding).
So that’s how I see it: also hardcore RAW shooters can take huge profits from Fujifilm film simulations.
But it is also true, that in many cases the JPEG output of Fujifilm cameras is that good, that you can skip the RAW editing right away.
It happened to me recently when I was in Ferrara with my family. I took my images in RAW+JPEG and when we were going home by train, I just used the internal RAW converter to try out some film simulations on certain pictures, stored them directly on the SD-card, and once home all I did was to load them into my computer, and that was it, my holiday images look great without any editing effort.
And here comes the connection to the video we share today.
If you are like me, and about 80%* of the images you keep are simply JPEG images (*thanks to the amazing Fujifilm JEPGs, with my previous gear I mostly edited the RAW files), then it might be of interest to know which film simulation works best in which context.
And Chris from Pal2Tech (one of the must follow channels for Fujifilm shooters) tested which film simulation works best (and worst) for low light photography (if you shoot in JPEG).
Chris’ video has been cross posted to petapixel here, where the conclusions is:
Monochrome is much less noisy than ACROS at all higher ISO ranges. In going through my testing, it seems pretty conclusive that Fujifilm adds some additional grain and/or noise to ACROS to help give it that unique look. The problem is, at much higher ISO values, it can start to fall apart at bit. If you are planning on shooting with ACROS, I would not go above 3200 ISO. Also, I’d definitely make sure the grain setting on your camera is turned off.
PROVIA, VELVIA, ASTIA, ETERNA, Pro Negative High and Sepia all performed well and had roughly the same good performance at higher ISO values. Of this group, PROVIA was the overall winner when you start pixel peeping at 300% or above.
If you are shooting at ISO 3200 and above, I would avoid Bleach Bypass, ACROS, and Classic Negative. Once you go above ISO 6400, I would not use any of those three film sims if I wanted to keep my noise to a minimum.
Most interesting of all were the winners. And they were Pro Negative Standard and ETERNA. If you are planning on shooting in low light at very high ISO values, you may want to give them a try. Both Pro Negative Standard and ETERNA gave me the overall best and consistent results.